The Real Reason for the Right’s Wrath Against Candy Crowley

Candy Crowley DebateCandy Crowley Debate

The CNN reporter, Candy Crowley, who moderated Tuesday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University has joined the ranks of journalists inside the “liberal media” that the right-wing echo chamber will forever smear, slime, and loathe.

The Republicans, along with their formidable propaganda outlets, Fox News and AM Talk Radio, have their knickers in a bunch because Ms. Crowley fact-checked their beloved candidate, Mitt Romney during the night’s most heated exchange. The hate brigades have taken aim at Ms. Crowley not because she showed “bias” or was “wrong” about the facts or exceeded the role of moderator, but because she performed a genuine act of journalism in front of 65 million viewers.

Ms. Crowley’s crime in the eyes of the Right is that she for one brief moment did what every journalism department at every university in America teaches their students to do: keep the record straight and do not allow politicians to use you as a prop for self-serving lies.

Crowley doing her job has caused more “Chaos on Bullshit Mountain” inside the Right’s echo chamber since David Corn of Mother Jones magazine first released the now historic “47 percent” video capturing Romney dissing half the country to a closed door audience of millionaires and billionaires.

The real reason why the Right has become so unhinged over Candy Crowley’s journalistic moment was best summed up 28 years ago by the campaign of Vice President George H. W. Bush following his historic debate with New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro, the first ever woman on a major party’s ticket.

When members of the press did their jobs and later fact-checked many of the statements that Bush made during the debate and found them incorrect, misleading, or outright lies, Bush’s press secretary responded:

You can say anything you want in a debate, and 80 million people hear it. If reporters then document that a candidate spoke untruthfully, so what? Maybe 200 people read it, or 2,000 or 20,000. (Quoted in The Eighties, p. 55)

The Romney campaign, taking its lead from the way earlier Republican campaigns viewed debates, simply believed he would have free range to say anything he wanted in front of the enormous TV audience. And when any fact-checking trickled in showing he had willfully gotten his facts wrong for political gain, (such as accusing President Obama of not calling the Benghazi attack an “act of terror,” which he did), it wouldn’t matter because the lie would have already served its purpose: planting the seeds of doubt and scoring points in the minds of 65 million viewers. Plus, the Fox noise machine could easily bury any new exposures of Romney’s incessant lying after the debate under yet another mountain of very loud and very partisan bullshit.

joseph palermoSo the real cause for this latest Republican whine-fest is that Ms. Crowley did her job as a journalist, showed respect for the need in a democracy for an informed electorate, and would not allow either candidate to lie in front of such a large audience of voters.

Joseph Palermo
Joseph Plermo’s Blog

Posted: Thursday, 18 October 2012


  1. JoeWeinstein says

    It isn’t just rightists who have a bone to pick with
    Crowley. Rather it’s everyone who cares about
    unbiased debate moderation.

    called down Romney during the debate – figuring that he was lying – but afterwards admitted (CNN – Real Clear
    Politics video, 16 Oct) that Romney basically was correct:

    know, again, I heard the president’s speech at the time. I sort of reread a lot
    of stuff about Libya because I knew we’d probably get a Libya question, so I
    kind of wanted to be up on it. So we knew that the president had said, you
    know, ‘these acts of terror won’t stand,’ or whatever the whole quote was.

    “I think actually, you know, because right after that, I did turn to Romney and
    said you were totally correct but they spent two weeks telling us that this was
    about a tape and that there was this riot outside of the Benghazi consulate,
    which there wasn’t. So he was right in the main, I just think that he picked
    the wrong word.”

    Yes. In his 12 Sep Rose Garden talk Obama said that the USA
    wouldn’t give in to terror attacks (in general) but didn’t claim outright that
    Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack.

    More important, whatever he might be claimed to have said in that one
    speech was utterly eclipsed and even contradicted for two weeks by his administration’s
    repeated (and fallacious) message spun to the public and the world that all the
    9/11/2012 attacks were basically the result not of planned terror (and indeed likely Al Qaeda terror) but of spontaneous
    outrage over a video.

    [There was of course a good reason for this spin: admitting that Al Qaeda is likely alive, well and kicking doesn’t sound so cool after all that bragging about doing away with Osama. Had Osama been interrogated at length before being dispatched, and then had the bragging about his death waited a couple of days, Osama’s chief lieutenants – exposed by interrogation but not warned by bragging – might meanwhile have been visited and dispatched too. So Al Qaeda’s persistence is a genuine embarrassment for the desired image of Obama as Osama-killer.]

    Giving informed reporters (or analysts, or whoever) a chance to weigh in (perhaps erroneously, perhaps informatively), as part of these ‘debates’, is one thing. Having unbiased moderation is another. An unintended but real lesson of Crowley’s act is that there’s no compelling reason that the moderator has to be a reporter.

  2. harry wood says

    She was not hired to act as a news person. A honest news person reports what was said, what happened, and other facts that become knowledge. I have done a really large number of interviews and if you read them all, you would not find a whisper of my opinion in any of them. I was like sgt fri of the TV show, just the facts. She gave support to one member of the debate and declared a claim of one person to be a fact when it was not. She is no longer fit to report the facts and from this day forward, she can only report her opinions. How would you like the police adding their opinions as facts in your invesgiation??

  3. says

    Don’t forget to mention that making her action during the debate into a major talking point will also have a chilling effect on other journalists put in the same position. The message is: let us have our version of the truth or pay the consequences.

    His manner was bullying both to the president and to the moderator. If Romney hadn’t forced her into this position, Crowley would have happily allowed the candidates to continue unchecked. Romney has only himself to blame for swallowing the phony Rush Limbaugh/ Fox News narrative of events. Things like this happen when politicians start believing their own lies. The real reason the Republicans are attacking Crowley is that, by doing so, they don’t have to admit that Romney made a complete fool of himself, at the press conference following the Benghazi attack and then later in the debates.

    • harry wood says

      All politicians believe their own lies, they always do. There is a screwup and four person are dead. The truth will not be released until after the election.

      • says

        I think there should be a partisan investigation so that Congress can give recommendations to the State department to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. However, the manner in which this was done and the fact that congress was warned against cutting security funding shows a high level of posturing and political game-playing. The poor judgment of having those committee investigations televised (for the sake of opportunism) proved the ineptitude of Issa who accidentally released classified information to the public.

        If, as you say, the truth comes out after the election, then it is only because from the very start, indeed within hours, the Republican party and Romney in particular chose to make this a campaign issue, instead of a security issue. In his 47% speech, Romney made it clear that he would seize any opportunity- like the Benghazi attack- for his own political advantage.( Read the transcript) That is not how a clear and mature investigation should be handled, not if politicians are truly interested in preventing such tragedies.

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